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Postmodernistiese vertelstrategieë in Nag van die clown van Abraham H. de Vries

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Publication Date
Keywords
  • Pl Languages And Literatures Of Africa
  • Eastern Asia
  • Oceania
Disciplines
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Medicine

Abstract

This thesis locates Abraham H. de Vries's Nag van ale Clown within the self-conscious South African socio-literary climate of the eighties and analyses postmodernist narrative strategies in five stories. Surveying the debate on postmodernism, this study describes postmodernism as a nomadic, inherently contradictory and mutually informing palimpsest of texts and views the De Vries text as a problematized inscribing of subjectivity into history. The act of reading indicates how the De Vries text hesitates between a conviction of the provisionality and unreliability of language on the one hand, but, on the other hand, the taking of refuge in language, with a diffuse subject which refuses to surrender itself to impotent language whilst simultaneously attempting to employ language as therapeutic strategy. The role of the writer as historiographer in "Siënese dagboek" is investigated and the narrative strategies of historiographic metafiction in that text and in Koos Prinsloo's "By die skryf van aantekeninge oor In reis" are traced. The processes underpinning the historiographic project are laid bare within a context of difference and ex-centricity. In "Nag van die Clown" parody of the generic narratives of Christ's birth and crucifixion leads to an energetic and renewing transformation, which conscientizes the reader, to the incessant processes of intertextual generation of meaning - a process simultaneously harbouring homage and debunking. Processes of doubling enables the subject-as-author to move nimbly from text to text. The reading of "Die vierde moontlikheid" as rewrite of the Gospel narrative on Judas Iskariot's betrayal, indicates how this text, along with Borges's "Drie weergawes van Judas", creates an intertext within which each text betrays another. The parody of the scientific essay and the detective story undermines genre conventions and creates an unstable textual environment. The dilemma of the author figure's concern with representation leads, in "Die bruid", to a laying bare of the narrative process, whereby the arbitrary, doubtful and unpredictable nature of narrative is exposed. The author figure does not abide by the insecure relationship between the word and the world, but as a concerned subject feels compelled to continually problematize this tension. The interplay between author's figures and the complex processes of conversion between reality and fiction in "Towenaars" , allude to the existence of a single postmodernist author's figure, of whom different facets appear in the respective stories. By way of affirmation of the magical qualities of language, a hopeful dimension is added to postmodernist linguistic scepticism.

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